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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Proso Millet

Scientific Name: Panicum miliaceum L.

Other Names: panic millet, Proso, Wild proso millet, Millet, Broom-corn millet

Family: Grass Family (Gramineae)

General Description: Annual, reproducing only by seed.

Habitat: Proso millet was introduced from Europe. Some forms are cultivated for bird seed and some of these along with other wild forms are major weeds of grain fields in parts of southern Ontario.

Seedlings

  • Large
  • Covered in long, coarse and erect hairs
  • New leaves appear rolled up on emergence

Stems

  • Stout
  • Up to 1 m (40 in.) or more high
  • Smooth or somewhat hairy for several cm below each node

Leaves

  • Leaf sheaths densely hairy
  • Hairs are somewhat harsh and standing more or less perpendicular to the surface
  • Leaf sheaths split, their margins membranous, overlapping just above each node but becoming separate upwards nearer the leaf blade
  • Leaves smooth to sparsely hairy, elongate, to 30 cm (12 in.) or longer and 5- 25 mm (1/5- 1 in.) wide
  • Widest just above the rounded base and tapering towards the tip
  • Ligule a band of hairs, the bases of the hairs united and more or less membranous
  • No auricles

Flowers

  • Panicle either dense and arching or nodding to 1 side or erect and loose or open, 8- 30 cm (3 1/5- 12 in.) long
  • Spikelets ovoid
  • Seeds:
    • 3- 3.5 mm (1/9- 1/7 in.) long
    • 1.6- 2.0 mm (1/15- 1/12 in.) wide
    • Hard
    • Usually shiny
    • Varying in colour from white through shades or yellow, orange and brown to black
  • Flowers from July to September

Often Confused With
Witch Grass (Distinguished by its much larger seeds that vary in colour from white through cream, orange, reddish or brownish-green to black and arching or nodding panicle. Seedlings distinguished by the size, shape and colour of the mother seed clinging to the primary root).
Fall Panicum (Distinguished by its hairy leaf sheaths and its larger spikelets).

Proso  millet seedling Proso millet roots with mother seed Proso millet leaf base diagram Proso  millet in beans Proso millet A. Young plant with mother seed B. Stem C. Leaf-base D. Inflorescence E. Panicule
Click to enlarge.